(Terry Heineman was a member of 4-H Big Quil Enterprises,
the youth entrepreneurship program that works
in collaboration with the Quilcene School District.)
Family, school associates mourn Quilcene teacher
By Erik Hidle, Peninsula Daily News
CHIMACUM — The death of a Quilcene teacher has left two families mourning in Jefferson County.
Terry Heineman died March 10 at his home in Chimacum after leaving Quilcene School early after falling ill.
At 6 p.m., he phoned the school to say it would need to find a substitute for Tuesday morning.
Later in the evening, his wife, Flavia, found him in a chair downstairs. He was dead of a heart attack at the age of 60.
Now both the Heinemans, and the Quilcene students and staff who cared about him, have begun a healing process which is becoming far too familiar for both groups.
David Andersen has been a school administrator for 23 years and, before the 2007-'08 school year, he had never had a faculty member die.
This year there have been two.
In October, German and English teacher Burt Babik died of cancer.
Now the school has lost Heineman, a social studies teacher, a drivers education instructor, a football coach and, as Anderson he put it, "Mr. Knowledge Bowl."
Heineman was the coach of the school's Knowledge Bowl team. In the last 21 years, he had taken the team to state competition 20 times — making the team the most successful at the school ever.
The team, which just lost its coach, decided to go to the state event in Spokane this year without him.
"It's what Terry would have wanted," Andersen said.
"The problem was that they were going to miss his memorial service."
The service for Heineman is planned for 4 p.m. today at Quilcene school.
Shelley Barton, a teacher at Quilcene, offered to pay airfare for the 12 students heading to state so that they would be able to attend the service.
"Terry was a great teacher and great person," Andersen said.
"We have gone through a lot this year at the school with the deaths of our teachers and some students.
"But we are coming together as a community and a family, becoming more resilient and becoming stronger."
Andersen said that when a death occurs at the school, counseling is provided for students and staff.
"It's still hard though," Andersen said.
"It doesn't get any easier."
Flavia Heineman will tell you that she only remembers fragments of memories of her husband.
That just isn't true.
If she has the time and you are willing to listen, Flavia can tell you the exact time the train left the station for Kingston, Jamaica on the day that she and Terry met.
She remembers the clothes they both were wearing and the exact location where he and a friend were sitting when he asked her for help deciphering the train schedule.
Eventually, she will tell you about how he moved to Canada to be with her and she will remember the way he packed all his belongings into little car to make everything fit.
She remembers what he said when they bought the land on Egg and I Road in Chimacum.
She remembers the old outhouse they used to have on the property, and the first day they got electricity.
She remembers all the one liners he would use to win an argument.
"I remember he was a man among men," Flavia said.
"And I won't forget it."
Flavia also remembers the last day she was with him.
"The moment that I found him, I knew I had lost a treasure," Flavia said.
"Some people look for gold and silver and diamonds, but I had my treasure right in front of my nose."
Sudden death is "something you can't prepare your family for," she said.
In addition to his widow, Terry Heineman leaves behind three children: Aaron, 33, Jason, 30 and Lydia, 25.
He was preceded in death by his son Gabe.
Gabe also died suddenly. He was in a fatal motorcycle wreck in 2003.
"My family really has had it kind of rough," Lydia said.
"Losing Gabe was hard on my dad. He loved all of us so much, and we loved him."
"I'll always remember the things he taught me."
Lessons were a big part of growing up in the Heineman house. From learning how to work or how to appreciate the work of others, their father required a love of learning.
Jason said that he learned so much from his dad that it would be impossible to pick out the most important lesson.
"It's more than just one thing," he said.
"It was the way he lived, and the way he lived for us, and now through us.
"He said he would live forever through his kids and his kids' kids."
Aaron said that that was true.
"As I work on the eulogy, I remember so many things, but they are all tied together into a simple way of living."
Flavia said that living simple and loving the land was what Terry was all about — from the one room cabin where the family of six originally lived, to the giant pond which he created in the backyard, "he loved it here."
His children agreed.
"It's sad that he is gone, but in a way I was glad that he died in the place that he loved and not in a hospital or a home," Aaron said.
"It's just sad that he's gone."